Tuesday, 27 October 2009


Happy day to all my readers and visitors,

Trust you find this article well and beneficial to you.

It is everyone's dream to retire gracefully. The question is should we do so as to achieve it. Why so many people fail to achieve it? Is it very difficult to achieve it?

In this article, I am going to give you some insight as how to work towards it. Which are the core areas you should address before you decide to retire. Here, I am going to discuss these issues in detail so as you can begin to prepare them in advance before your golden age.

1. Your children must be financially independent.

Unless you are financially sound, you can not retire gracefully should your children be still dependent on you. Alternatively, you must be able to generate sufficient and adequate passive income to be able to support your lifestyle and your dependents.

2. You have zero debts

Debts can kill unless you can manage them well. If you are a financial wizard and are able to use the debts to generate income which exceeds the cost of borrowing and at the same time be able to generate cash inflow more than sufficient to settle its due installment. Otherwise, the penalty and the late interest payment will add to your outstanding debts. Should you be unable to pay the installment and interest, the loan may be recalled. Thus, you have to settle the whole sum. To avoid putting yourself in this predicament, be sure to settle all your debts before you retire.

3. You have enough savings to support your lifestyle for the rest of your life

In most cases, you may not have much income after you retire, unless you have passive income. As such, you must have adequate amount of savings that can support your lifestyle for the rest of your life. Here, you must also ensure that your savings take into account of rate of inflation. You are encouraged to have a few safety plans to cater for other contingencies.

4.  Know exactly what you can do during your retirement.

Some people are not able to cope well with the sudden change in their life patterns.  Retirement is not as simple as you think. Some may think that they will have the time to travel and see the world. However, most of them can do it initially, but later they may run out of ideas.

For those who enjoy sport, they might think that it is a golden opportunity for them to play their favorite game. However, most of them may no longer be fit enough or they may have difficulty to find their buddies to play with.

Buddies are also needed for other games such as mahjong, badminton, trekking and karaoke.Most of them have difficulty finding those they can click to and share their favorite games. Playing/singing alone is not fun. Thus you must form your own sports/games groups BEFORE you retire. You need to identify your buddies, play with them and discover whether they can click with you.

For the less sporty, reading may sound like a great idea, but you must truly enjoy it.. Otherwise, you may find it boring after a few pages and end up napping most of the time! Even if you have the hobby right now, you may not find it enjoyable later on.

You still need to stay active during your retirement period. Bear in mind the fact that most of our routine work activities are either planned or dictated by others. It will be entirely a different ball game. When you retire, you need to establish your own routine activities.

A good routine that can keep your body, mind and spirit sharpen are as follows:

a) Physical sport - you need to stay healthy to enjoy your retirement. If you are the non-sporty type, you should at least try to clean your home yourself without mechanical aids. Dancing and baby sitting are other good alternatives.

b) Mind stimulating activity - you need to stimulate your mind to stay active. However, mind stimulating activities are hard to identify. To acquire them successfully, you will not only need the will of doing something useful with the rest of your life, but also a mindset change and the discipline to carry it through.

c) Social activity - try you best to choose activities involving lots of friends/neighbours. Unless you prefer to be alone, you need friends more than ever as you get older. They may give you moral and spiritual support, if you are in need.

d) Community services activities - it is noble for you to give back to the society to show your appreciation of  what you have been benefiting from throughout your life, so as to leave some kind of legacy.

After retiring, you still need to maintain a balance between amusing yourself and your family members. Do capitalize your spare time with opportunities that will come your way like responding to an unexpected request to do a job or to take advantage of cheap fares to visit an exhibitions/places..

You may turn to your one-off activities list when you are bored at times, despite having a busy routine.  These include anniversaries, trips, visits friends and relatives abroad, re-doing your home, attending conferences (related to your hobbies), acquiring a new set of expertise.

Retirement is a serious business. Never take it lightly. If you can afford to retire and want to, prepare to live life to the fullest. You need to be fit to enjoy it - therefore get into shape now. You do not want to get up daily and wonder what to do, therefore identify your set of routine activities now and try them out to confirm that they are the activities that you will be looking forward to doing. Your one-off activities list of "rewards" or "projects" or "challenges" is needed to help you break away from the routine, thereby make life worth living.

Start listing what you fancy and refine it as you chug along in your retirement. You will have so much fun; that you wish you have retired since you turned 21!

Wishing you health and happiness,

James Oh

Thursday, 22 October 2009


To all my dearest visitors and readers,

Hope you find this article well and useful.

It is a popular belief that you need to stress your dollars only when the economy is in a crisis. However, the truth is that we need to embed financial management skills in our personal lives irregardless of the state of the economic affairs. There is no way that you can avoid from dealing with money in life. As such, we need to realize and acknowledge the importance of this matter in our lives.

IN this article, I have listed some of the steps to develop sound financial management skills:-


Without such commitment, you will not only run the risk of flawed planning and poor decision making, but also fail to embed sound financial principles into the management of your daily life as a whole. Do not worry about making mistake as long as you learn from it. Always learn from the master who have a proven track record. Keep on trying out until you truly apprehend its implications in each different scenarios. Here, repetition is the key of mastery.


It is never too late to begin. Act now to kick-start good financial management in your life. No matter what the current level of your financial management skills, there tend to be potential - almost certainly huge potential - to improve.  You must want good financial management to be at your heart, be committed to it and be consistent in promoting and supporting its application. It takes time to build an empire, so do financial management skills. If you understand the compound interest implication, then you will know the snowball effect on money. Life passes quickly and you might need extra money for the unexpected and the long term. In light of today’s global financial crisis with its high rate of inflation, managing your money effectively has become exceptionally important than before.


We must acknowledge and realize the fact that most of stuff we bought is based on emotion rather than rationale. As such, you must not be trapped into it so frequently that it becomes part of our habits. In order to overcome it, you must ask yourself seriously whether you really need it before buying. You must consistently put it into practice and through such repeated positive reinforcement, you will be amazed at its spectacular result.


Learning to acquire sound financial management skills also includes learning when you can make cutbacks. Before that, you need to scrutinize your list of monthly expenses and cut back those expenses which you do not need. Thus, that unspent sum of money may either go to your saving accounts or to reduce your loan. As a result, you will have more money to spend in the long term. Alternatively, you may use that saved amount of money to spend on higher quality product, which in term cost you less in the long run.


Debts can kill unless you can manage them well. If you are overwhelmed by debt, then consolidation of your loans is most likely to be a feasible solution to you. If you have a good credit rating and negotiation power, you will most likely be able to obtain a more attractive and reasonable interest rate from lenders. In this case, you must make sure that the loan with the lowest rate of interest be utilized first. To reap its fullest benefit, you must also match your payment schedule with your cash inflow. Ultimately, it will leave you with more money at the end of the month to either enjoy a good lifestyle or reduce your other debts.


Pay attention to new tax laws. They are like a moving target - changing annually.  Make full use of the knowledge to your maximum advantage for instance you make sure that you claim all deductions that you are entitled. Proper tax planning also will help you to reduce your tax liability.


It is always the best practice that we set a certain amount to our saving accounts. In this case, you are more likely to live within your budget while ensuring that a portion of your income is safely held in savings. You never know when some extra cash will come in handy.


This means regularly reviewing the skills to keep abreast so as fulfill tomorrow's needs. It means acquiring new ideas to use the present resources to improve your wealth.


The key to success is being able to get things done. Its role and principles must be easily understood and the benefits clearly defined. Finance needs to be seen as part of your daily solution and not part of your problem.

So, practice the steps that I have given you and, not only will you gradually make progress. Ultimately you will be able to face the economic crisis with an increasing confidence. 

Please feel free to pass this blog to your friends who intend to pursuing sound financial management skills.

Wishing you success,

James Oh